The task of AGES is to examine cosmetic products together with the research institutes of the Austrian provinces, the Ministry of Health and the regional food safety agencies by taking samples of products on the market (at drugstores, shopping centres, supermarkets, health food stores, organic grocery stores, markets and trade fairs) and at manufacturers and importers directly.
The GEKO department (Commodities and Cosmetics, AGES Institute for Food Safety Vienna) examines the products to see whether they comply with substance regulations, checks labelling and assesses the products based on the results obtained. About 1,000 cosmetic products are assessed per year.
The examination spectrum for cosmetics includes chemo-physical analyses, hygiene requirements and verification in line with statutory regulations.
The chemical test relates mainly to the contents defined in Regulation (EC) 1223/2009– i.e. prohibited and restricted substances, preservatives and UV protection filters – and undesired substances, such as contaminants (e.g. heavy metals) and residues.
Another important criterion in the assessment of cosmetic products is microbiological examination. The guidelines used for this assessment are based on the recommendations specified in the SCCP's NOTES OF GUIDANCE.
Additionally, the labelling is also checked in line with Regulation (EC) 1223/2009 on cosmetic products.
Substances and product claims that are particularly stressed by manufacturers are assessed using documents provided by the person responsible to avoid customer deception. Cosmetic products must not claim to have properties they do not have and must not deceive consumers via name, information, presentation or claims about their effectiveness. Thus, each effect promised by a cosmetic product requires verification.
In addition, the food safety agency carries out company audits at manufacturers and importers, with a special focus on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).